Canadian access to medicines at risk if U.S. legalizes resale importation.

Posted on May 31, 2019

Florida, is the latest of 16 states pursuing importation legislation to allow the resale diversion of prescription drugs from Canada to Americans. President Donald Trump reiterated his support for the proposal. US FDA has formed a working group to evaluate drug importation policy options. The question that needs to be considered is the potential impact on drug supplies in Canada. Canada is already facing a growing list of drug shortages.

Previous research estimated the effect US drug importation from Canada would have on the Canadian drug supply. Researchers found that "if 10% of the US prescriptions were filled from Canadian sources (manufacturer, wholesale or retail), Canada's 2007 drug supply would be exhausted in 224 days. If the demand from the US reached 20%, the 2007 supply would be exhausted in 155 days." The study concluded that "US drug importation is a threat to Canada's drug supply."

CHPI's Dr. Nigel Rawson co-authored a more recent article concluding that "legislation proposed in the United States to allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, has the potential to worsen shortages in Canada."

  • Rawson, N., & Binder, L. (2017). Importation of drugs into the United States from Canada. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne, 189(24), E817–E818.
  • Shepherd, M. (2010). The Effect of US Pharmaceutical Drug Importation on the Canadian Pharmaceutical Supply. Canadian Pharmacists Journal / Revue Des Pharmaciens Du Canada, 143(5), 226–233.
  • (For more see Forbes, US News & World Report, CBC)

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